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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): Our Best Gift

(Adults, this Gospel speaks of end-times and the cost of discipleship-—two topics that are beyond the needs and questions of the 3-6 year old child. I have focused this reflection on the first two verses and on the gift to God that endures, which ties into the last verse of this reading.)

When we listen to the Word of God, we often hear about Jerusalem, the most holy city in Israel. Within Jerusalem, the most holy place is the Temple. Each day, from all over the city, people would come to the Temple, because inside the innermost room—inside the tabernacle—was God.

some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God

All sorts of beautiful stones making this holy place of prayer so special. All sorts of gifts given to God. How the people must love God! They want to show how much they love God. They want to give God the best that they have.

But Jesus says,

“As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

Oh, dear. The Temple does not last forever. This beautiful, holy place, full of gifts from people who love God—broken down. We know how long it can take to build something special out of Lego or blocks. We know how it feels if someone breaks our special building down. It makes us feel bad.

We love God, too, just like the people in Jerusalem. We want to show how much we love God. We want to give God gifts. But we do not want them to get broken down.

What can we give to God that will not break down?

Image by Alex Muzzi on pixabay

There is a moment in the Mass,

when the priest takes the bread that has become Jesus for us,

and the chalice full of the wine that has become Jesus for us,

and raises them up high.

It is as if the priest is giving them back to God.

The greatest gift has come down from God to us, making the ordinary bread and wine something—some One—so special, so precious, so holy.

Now the priest lifts the gift back up to God. It is like he is saying,

"Thank-you for this gift.

Now we want to give you something in return.

This is the best thing that we have."

We can think more closely about this. What do we remember about the chalice at Mass?

We remember how the priest pours in so much wine—the wine that becomes Jesus, who is God.

We remember that the priest pours in something else, too—just a little drip of water. The water is us. The priest pours it in because Jesus is not only God, but human, too. Human—that's us! We are in the chalice, too!

When the priest lifts up the chalice to God, the priest offers the gift of Jesus and us to God. We sing, Amen!

Amen! This is a better gift than precious stones on the Temple.

Amen! This is a gift that endures—it never breaks down.

Amen! This is a gift from us, because we love God so much.

When we are at Mass on Sunday, we can watch for the moment when the priest lifts up the bread and the chalice. We will hear the priest pray, "Through him, and with him, and in him..." Through Jesus, with Jesus, and in Jesus.

We give God the best that we have. Our whole self.

Then we sing, all together: Amen!

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